Asko UK | “We want to create a network of brand ambassadors”

Appliance brand Asko aims to build a sustainable business, through a network of retail partners, which will act as a blueprint for Europe

12 May, 23

Following its return to the UK, appliance brand Asko is now building a sustainable business, through a network of retail partners, which will act as a blueprint for Europe

Asko | “We're trying to create a network of brand ambassadors” 1

Michael Hardwick has recently joined the company, with experience of premium appliance brands, to lead sales in the UK



Over the past 12 months, premium appliance brand Asko has re-entered the UK and plans to build on its foundations to create a sustainable business.

It has opened a temporary trade showroom in the Midlands and invested in the UK team with the appointment of a UK head of sales.

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Now, the aim is the UK will become a blueprint for the business across Europe, with ambitions of an Experience Centre on London’s Wigmore Street.

Business director of Asko Robert Kapteijn explains: “When we made the business plan for the UK, it was first to set up the organisation and now the focus is on distribution with the right partners.”

Sustainable growth

Unlike its current European markets, which sell primarily through distribution, the UK is focused on sales direct to partners and this will be the vision for future countries.

Asko Experience Centre in Denmark

Asko Experience Centre in Denmark, which the brand has ambitions to inspire premises on London’s Wigmore Street



The brand currently has a small network of displaying partners, across Kutchenhaus and MHK retail members, which were being serviced by a small UK team.

But now the team has expanded with newly-appointed UK head of sales Michael Hardwick who is tasked with growing the business.

Asko hasn’t set a target for the number of displaying showrooms, although its long-term vision is for a “significant” number of displaying partners.

“It’s about creating a sustainable business, working with a small number of partners at first, and to build on the learnings, rather than setting big targets, selling at whatever cost, with a detrimental impact on the long-term ambitions for the UK.

“Of course, we’ve got a budget, but just as important are the steps required to get there”, says Michael Hardwick

High-end offer

Established 70 years ago, in Sweden, Asko is inspired by its Scandinavian heritage and Robert Kapteijn says it provides an alternative to German appliance brands.

Robert Kapteijn of Asko

Business development Robert Kapteijn is responsible for the Asko UK brand


“I think that is something we have to leverage, because it stands for quality, wellbeing and sustainability. It is our foundation and what we will continue to build upon.”

He continues stating: “We are giving partners the opportunity of a new, premium brand which you will not see on every corner, not see aggressive discounts on websites, and in every product group we’ve got something different than competition.”

With a heritage in the laundry sector, being part of the Hisense Group which includes Gorenje and Atag, the Asko brand also has expertise in cooking and cooling.

It offers Elements and Craft built-in cooking collection and recently introduced Celsius cooking for its induction hobs.

This allows consumers to cook with exact temperatures and is now prototyping this technology for gas, as well as introducing an updated direct flame wok burner Volcano 2.0.

In cooling, Asko recently launched  a connected wine climate cabinet, which not only enables optimum storage but enhanced consumer knowledge about wine, using a complementary app.

The brand also introduced an induction hob with integrated downdraft tower, which is claimed to be the quietest on the market, and the DW60 dishwasher, reportedly has more stainless steel parts than any other models on the market.

All of the models have been developed in the company’s own Competence Centres in Sweden and Netherlands.

Now the company is seeking to employ a product and training manager for the UK to help educate partners on Asko products and their benefits, to boost familiarity with the brand.

Michael Hardwick explains: “If we can work with them and establish trust and credibility, they become brand ambassadors for us and that’s what we want to create – a network of Asko brand ambassadors throughout the country”.

Selecting partners

But what are the qualities that partners need to demonstrate to become an Aski brand ambassador?

Asko | “We're trying to create a network of brand ambassadors” 3

The Celsius Cooking system consists of a range of induction hobs and bluetooth connected hob, pan, pot and probe that enables temperature precise cooking.


Hardwick explains: “It’s a genuine desire to actually want to explore a new brand and to want to help us on that journey.

“So we need someone actively getting behind us who we will then support and invest into that store in marketing, in time and people but them wanting to invest into that opportunity as well.”

And Kapteijn highlights the ‘significant’ number of partners need to have a least a couple of product groups on display.”

However, Hardwick explains it’s also about recognising not every retailer can sell a brand like Asko: “If we’re lucky enough to have some retail showroom space, then we want that turning for the partner as frequently as they want it turning for themselves, presumably, because it’s all expensive real estate.

“We do a lot of work around where are customers may be in the UK and London is quite the hotspot, as you might imagine, but then there are lots of other cities around the country where pockets of wealth sit.

Creating trust

But in recent times, has the partnership term been overused by appliance brands and how will Asko restore faith in retail collaboration?

Asko | “We're trying to create a network of brand ambassadors” 4

Boasting an array of connected technology, the Wine Climate monitors humidity, catalogues and gives users information about their wine. 


“I think perhaps a lot of retailers are losing faith in what they think partnership means following the recent stock challenges”, says Hardwick.

He adds: “Everything I’ve been working on, since I’ve been with the business, is all about talking to partners (both internally and externally) and gaining insight.

“It’s about developing a genuine understanding of what partners are looking for? What are the challenges they experience with appliance brands and could we help overcome that?”

“He adds: “We might not have the solution for that challenge right now. However because of our size, agility and the means of our parent company, if there is a recurring theme of challenges, we can probably act on it quite quickly if it’s the right thing to do. It is about building that trust and credibility.”

And Kapteijn adds unlike some premium appliance brands, Asko will “never” sell appliances direct to consumers.

But what could happen further down the line, when the brand wants to gain sales momentum?  “I can tell you in five to ten years we will never have the brand awareness of some premium competitors, so that means that we will always depend on partners to sell the brand.”

Luxury growth

And despite the uncertain economic backdrop, Asko believes it could benefit sales of a luxury brand.

Asko | “We're trying to create a network of brand ambassadors” 5

Established as a laundry appliance manufacturer 70 years’ ago, Asko now offers the Logic washing machine, tumble dryer, drying cabinet and hidden helper.


Hardwick comments: “Anecdotally, it feels like the mid-price point kitchen sales are eroding a little bit, with customers seeing the benefit of investing in premium kitchens. So the share of premium kitchens will increase.”

Certainly the brand has already experienced global growth – entering five new European markets in 2022 alone, including the UK, growing sales by 32%.

And Robert Kapteijn believes the UK could become one of the largest markets for the brand.

However, he concludes: “We don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the best, providing the best experience for the consumer and a fantastic company for partners to trade with.”